For Best Western Plus Chestermere General Manager Natalie Szankar, no two days are alike.
Szankar’s days are filled with a variety of tasks, such as watching the hotel rates, watching how well rooms are selling, collaborating with the Chestermere Rec Centre, and helping housekeeping with tasks including laundry.
“It’s definitely not boring,” Szankar said.
Szankar works with the Rec Centre to offer swimming lessons, and aquasize to Chestermere residents.
“We offer our pool, and they put together a swim program for the community,” Szankar said.
However, like any manger, Szankar has to overcome challenges in order to keep the business thriving.
“It depends on the economy and whether people are traveling,” Szankar said.
She added, “Staffing is always a challenge, you have staff that come and go.”
The minimum wage for employees rising three times in the last three years has added an additional challenge for Szankar to keep the business afloat while not putting the cost onto the traveller.
“There is a balance there for sure,” she said.
Although managing the Best Western Plus Chestermere can be challenging, Szankar enjoys showing people the hotel world, while offering local people an opportunity to have a career.
“A lot of people have a misconception of the front desk,” Szankar said.
“Working the front desk is much more than most people realize. It’s not an average job anyone gets only for a cheque.”
Being the first person anyone sees when they enter the hotel forces employees to gain confidence quickly while maintaining a friendly and professional approach to handling any problems that could arise.
Throughout the years, Szankar has watched her employees grow in confidence and in professionalism from working at the front desk.
“It’s about learning not to be afraid to talk to complete strangers,be friendly, and offer that customer service,” Szankar said.
She added, “There’s a lot of growth with learning how to deal with people who are not always in a good mood, you have to learn how to handle them and still maintain your professionalism.”
Working in the hotel industry has given Szankar the opportunity to pursue a career in a world-wide in industry.
“There’s a much bigger world when you’re in the hotel industry than just one property.”
“We’re teaching people if they are interested, they can take that career as far as they want to go,” Szankar said.